Illinois Governor Signs Employer-Friendly Amendments to Recreational Marijuana Law

In order to address employer concerns regarding the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, the Illinois General Assembly amended the Act via a trailer bill, Senate Bill 1557, during the fall legislative session. On December 4, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the legislation into law as Public Act 101-0593. The changes took effect with the governor’s signature.

“Presents” of Mind for the Holidays: Six Q&As on Sensible Workplace Gift Giving

’Tis the season of generosity, random acts of kindness, and selfless gifts. But not all gifts are well received—or positively perceived. In the employment law context, where compliance and best practice remain the watchwords, presents exchanged by colleagues, however well-intentioned, must still pass muster under law and corporate policy.

What to Expect When Employees Are Expecting: New Pregnancy and Lactation Accommodation Requirements for Oregon Employers

During the summer of 2019, the Oregon legislature passed two bills broadening protections for pregnant and lactating employees, including extending lactation break requirements to apply to employers of all sizes, requiring more flexible lactation breaks, and expressly requiring reasonable accommodation for known pregnancy and childbirth related limitations.

Party of One: Collective Action Against Outback Steakhouse Denied due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied conditional class action certification in a case involving a front of house (FOH) manager suing Outback Steakhouse for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The court applied the Supreme Court of the United States’ reasoning in its 2017 decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, which involved a class action in California state court by a purported class of more than 600 plaintiffs, most of whom were not California residents.

Judge Issues Temporary Injunction Blocking Implementation of San Antonio’s Sick and Safety Leave Law

The City of San Antonio’s Sick and Safe Leave ordinance has been enjoined. The ordinance was originally scheduled to go into effect on August 1, 2019, but on July 24, 2019, a Texas state court delayed implementation until December 1, 2019, pending a ruling on a motion for temporary injunction filed by business groups and the state.

Showing Up to Work: Sixth Circuit Clarifies When Regular, In-Person Attendance Is Required Under the ADA

In Popeck v. Rawlings Company, LLC, No. 19-5092 (October 16, 2019), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the Rawlings Company on Popeck’s claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), finding that regular, in-person attendance was an essential function of Popeck’s job as a claims auditor.

Determining the Taxability of Employer-Provided Executive Health Examination Programs

Employers historically have maintained executive health examination programs to provide a convenient and efficient means for executives to visit several doctors in one visit, including for vision and annual health checkups. Generally, these programs are covered under employers’ self-insured health policies. This article discusses the taxability of employer-provided executive health examination programs and the associated employment tax withholding and reporting requirements.

The Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act: Privacy Implications of Illinois’s AI Statute

It’s time for employers to start preparing for legislation recently signed into law in Illinois, the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act. The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, regulates Illinois employers’ use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the interview and hiring process.

Maryland Prohibits Noncompetes for Low-Wage Employees

A new state law in Maryland now prohibits employers from requiring low-wage employees to enter into noncompete agreements. Maryland Senate Bill 328, which took effect on October 1, 2019, prohibits employers from obligating any employee who earns less than $15.00 per hour or $31,200 per year from entering into an agreement that restricts the employee’s ability to work with a new employer in the same or similar business.

USCIS Proposes Significant Fee Hikes

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a new fee schedule designed to mitigate an approximate $1.3 billion shortfall in the annual budget of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). According to DHS, immigration fees would increase by a weighted average of 21 percent across the board. In reality, however, the fee changes would not affect all immigration benefits equally. Fees for some commonly used classifications are set to go up significantly.

Oregon Court of Appeals Requires Employers to Pay Wages for Hourly Employees’ Failure to Take Full 30-Minute Meal Periods

On November 14, 2019, the Oregon Court of Appeals in Maza v. Waterford Operations, LLC, 300 Or. App. 471 (2019), addressed the question of whether an employer can be found strictly liable under Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) 839-020-0050(2) when an hourly employee takes less than the entire duty-free, 30-minute lunch break to which the employee is otherwise entitled, regardless of the circumstances.

FMLA Retaliation Case Illustrates the Practical Significance of Effective HR Documentation

In Simpson v. Temple University, et al., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment to the defendants on the plaintiff’s claims of interference and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The decision illustrates the practical significance of documenting performance issues and termination decisions as soon as possible.

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Ending DACA

On November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument on the legality of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program that provides work authorization and protection from deportation to young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. The roughly 80-minute session focused on two primary questions: whether the Court had the authority to review DHS’s decision to end DACA and, if so, whether the decision was legal.

Is “Fair Pay to Play” Fair in College Sports? What California’s New Law Means for the Future of Amateur Athletics

On September 30, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed California legislation—Senate Bill (SB) 206—that would permit college student athletes to benefit financially (for example, from endorsement deals) from their names, images, and likenesses while still in school. Governor Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, which Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) sponsored, with much fanfare, alongside a high-profile professional basketball player and several former college student athletes. The new law is scheduled to take effect in January 2023.

DOL Issues Fluctuating Workweek Proposal Permitting Employers to Include Bonus Pay When Calculating Overtime

On November 4, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would give employers more flexibility in the way they calculate overtime pay for workers with inconsistent schedules that result in workweeks with varying hours of work.